The last name Campbell has been synonymous with Lewisville baseball for nearly five decades. And even in the wake of longtime Farmers head coach Mike Campbell announcing his retirement in May, that'll remain the case.
On Monday, the baseball program's Twitter account tweeted that Campbell's son, Stephen, has been named the team's next head coach. Stephen Campbell has spent the past three seasons as the head baseball coach at Irving.
“It means the world to me. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time — being able to come back and coach at my high school and give back to the community that I grew up in.”
Campbell’s connection to the city and high school baseball program run deep. He was a bat boy for the team as a child and played for the Farmers during his high school days. All the while, Campbell’s father was a guiding influence on his post-playing career.
“I feel like I didn’t even know there were other jobs out there,” Stephen joked. “He’s always been someone who I could fall back on to talk the game of baseball with and relate it to life. He’s always been there for me and we’ve always been there for each other.
“Whether it’s playing or coaching, we’ve always been able to talk to each other and bounce ideas off each other.”
Following Mike Campbell’s retirement after 47 years spent coaching at Lewisville, Stephen naturally spoke with his father before deciding to apply for the position.
“I’ve wanted it especially, but he’s always wanted it for me too,” Stephen said. “It was a dream job for me as a kid, just being a bat boy here, getting to play here in high school and now getting to come back and coach.”
Fittingly enough, Lewisville ISD was where Stephen first got started as a coach — beginning his career at Arbor Creek Middle School before coaching in San Angelo for three years as an assistant. Other stops included a four-year run as head coach at Llano and an assistant coaching job at Frisco before spending the past three seasons at the helm of Irving’s baseball program.
“I learned a ton being at a 6A high school and how things are done,” Stephen said. “How to find the kids to come play. You run into different scenarios in a program like that and you learn to work through them and find success in different ways.”
He’ll look to carry that over to Lewisville, inheriting a young program that battled growing pains in a talent-rich 6-6A district last season. The Farmers posted a 9-21 record and finished eighth in the conference.
Stephen won’t enter the job blind to the program’s expectations. His father coached the program for 47 years, interviewing for the job just before turning 23 years old in 1974. Mike Campbell retired with 703 wins across his coaching career.
As Stephen takes that torch, he plans on putting his own stamp on the program.
“There’s going to be some changes. Not everything I do is the same as my dad,” he said. “There will be differences in how we talk about things, how we treat practice, how we work. Being younger, I want to bring a high-energy approach to this team.”
Stephen said he began doing skill work with the players this week, jump-starting the process of building relationships and laying the groundwork for his vision for the program. One aspect the head coach emphasized was strengthening the connection between the Farmers’ baseball team and the Lewisville community.
“We want to build the game in the community and get the community more involved with our team, and vice-versa,” Stephen said. “We want to grow the game of baseball in Lewisville. I feel like it’s dipped off a bit. We want to provide our kids what we can for them to successful at the game.”
He added that his father will remain with the program in some capacity, although the exact role is still being decided.
“I know he’ll still want to mow the field, for sure,” Stephen said. “I’m sure he’ll still be at every game and maybe come up to see some practices. Just another voice and person for the kids to come talk to as well.”